Ball Tales

A Study of Baseball, Basketball and Football Fiction of the 1930s through 1960s


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SKU: 9780786439850 Categories: , , , ,

About the Book

This history of American sports fiction traces depictions of baseball, basketball and football in works for all age levels from early dime novels through the 1960s. Chapters cover dime novel heroes Frank and Dick Merriwell; the explosion of sports novels before World War II and its influence on the authors who later wrote for baby boom readers; how sports novels persisted during the Great Depression; the rise and decline of sports pulps; why sports comics failed; postwar heroes Chip Hilton and Bronc Burnett; the lack of sports fiction for females; Duane Decker’s Blue Sox books; and the classic John R. Tunis novels. Appendices list sports pulp titles and comic books featuring sports fiction.

About the Author(s)

Michelle Nolan has been a newspaper and magazine feature writer for more than 50 years. She received an Inkpot Award for her work as a comics and pop cultural historian and entrepreneur. She has written more than 12,000 published articles in newspapers and magazines along with contributions to dozens of books. She lives in Bellingham, Washington.

Bibliographic Details

Michelle Nolan
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 287
Bibliographic Info: 57 photos, appendices, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2010
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3985-0
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5830-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1
Introduction      3

One—What Came Before: There Was Never Another Hero Like Frank Merriwell      7
Two—The Great Pulp Sports Rally During the Depression      19
Three—When College Football Was King on Film      33
Four—A Smattering of Adult Sports Fiction      41
Five—The Man Who Beat Merriwell      62
Six—Sports Fiction Strikes Out in the Comic Books      94
Seven—The Longest-Running Heroes: Chip Hilton and Bronc Burnett      119
Eight—Duane Decker’s Unique Blue Sox Series      145
Nine—The Sports Series Also-Rans      164
Ten—John Tunis: The Best of the Best      172
Eleven—The Prolific Sports Fiction Authors      192
Twelve—Making Sports History: The Girls of Central High      213
Thirteen—Sports Short Stories for Young and Old      243
Fourteen—The Departure of Drama in Sports Films      254

Appendix A—Sports Pulp Magazines      263
Appendix B—Sports Heroes in Comic Books 1939-1967      265
Bibliography      267
Index      273

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Excellent…recommended”—Choice